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Jerry Workman

B.S., Biology, Northern Illinois University
Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Michigan

Portrait of Jerry Workman

Gene regulation is very intimately involved in aspects of cancer as well as many other diseases.

Research Areas

Genetics and Genomics, Molecular and Cell Biology, Systems Biology

Courses Taught

Gene Expression: Transcription to Translation; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory



National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award


Changjiang Scholar Award ("Yangtze River" Scholar award), Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China


Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences


National Institutes of Health MERIT Award


Associate Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Faculty Scholars Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Life and Health Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

Jerry Workman, Ph.D., an Investigator at the Stowers Institute, is known for his pioneering work uncovering the role of histones in the regulation of gene expression.

Workman earned a B.S. in biology from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from the University of Michigan. During his Ph.D., he pursued his interest in using electron microscopy to visualize chromatin—the entire DNA/protein package.

At Rockefeller University, Workman pursued his postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Robert Roeder, Ph.D., a pillar in the field of gene regulation and one of the first scientists to discover transcription factors, proteins that turn on gene expression. In Roeder’s lab, Workman illustrated that transcription factors and nucleosomes compete for DNA sequences to activate or repress genes. In 1992, Workman established his own lab at Pennsylvania State University and in 1998, he became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, a position he forfeited to join the Stowers Institute in 2003. At the Stowers Institute, he continues his work in gene regulation in yeast, fruit flies, and mammalian cells. Over the years, Workman maintained a close research collaboration with his wife, the late Susan Abmayr, Ph.D., who brought fruit fly genetics to his lab.

In addition to his research, Workman heads the postdoctoral training program at the Stowers Institute. As a dedicated mentor, he has trained several generations of postdoctoral researchers, many of whom have gone on and established successful research careers of their own.

Featured Publications

The methyltransferase SETD2 couples transcription and splicing by engaging mRNA processing factors through its SHI domain

Bhattacharya S, Levy MJ, Zhang N, Li H, Florens L, Washburn MP, Workman JL. Nat Commun. 2021;12:1443. doi: 1410.1038/s41467-41021-21663-w.

Characterization of a metazoan ADA acetyltransferase complex

Soffers JHM, Li X, Saraf A, Seidel CW, Florens L, Washburn MP, Abmayr SM, Workman JL. Nucleic Acids Res. 2019;47:3383-3394.

MPTAC Determines APP Fragmentation via Sensing Sulfur Amino Acid Catabolism

Suganuma T, Swanson SK, Gogol M, Garrett TJ, Conkright-Fincham J, Florens L, Washburn MP, Workman JL. Cell Rep. 2018;24:1585-1596.

Histone H3 threonine 11 phosphorylation by Sch9 and CK2 regulates chronological lifespan by controlling the nutritional stress response.

Oh S, Suganuma T, Gogol MM, Workman JL. eLife. 2018;7:e36157. doi: 36110.37554/eLife.36157.

Composition and Function of Mutant Swi/Snf Complexes

Dutta A, Sardiu M, Gogol M, Gilmore J, Zhang D, Florens L, Abmayr SM, Washburn MP, Workman JL. Cell Rep. 2017;18:2124-2134.​

Serine and SAM Responsive Complex SESAME Regulates Histone Modification Crosstalk by Sensing Cellular Metabolism.

Li S, Swanson SK, Gogol M, Florens L, Washburn MP, Workman JL, Suganuma T. Mol Cell. 2015;60:408-421.

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